The No. 21 Ohio State women’s volleyball team kicked off its season on a high note, claiming 3-0 and 3-1 victories against University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Saint Louis, respectively, Friday.
However, the Buckeyes were unable to carry that momentum into their Saturday matchup against No. 10 BYU as they lost 3-1 to the Cougars.
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Ohio State came out of the gate red-hot and dominated Valley in the first two sets, winning 25-17 and 25-11.
The third set started off as a nail-biter with UTRGV surging early to take a 9-5 lead. The Buckeyes began to gain back their momentum when middle blocker Madison Smeathers tied the game 10-10 with a kill.
The Buckeyes followed with a 15-5 run to claim the third set and their first win of the season.
Setter Taylor Hughes was the star of the match as she picked up 42 kills and 33 assists. Outside hitter Ashley Wenz tallied 13 kills and 3 service aces with a .667 hitting percentage.
Ohio State’s .451 hitting percentage diminished UTRGV’s (.191). The Buckeyes held a 47-29 advantage in kills.
Ohio State fell behind to start the first set. But after an ace by outside hitter Luisa Schirmer gave Ohio State gave a 9-8 advantage, the Buckeyes led the rest of the set to a 25-16 victory.
Despite taking the early lead in the match, the Billikens won the second set 25-23 to tie the contest at one set apiece.
However, Ohio State regained the lead in the third set and utilized 10 kills to earn a 25-17 victory.
The Buckeyes blazed through the final set with three aces from outside hitter Bia Franklin and another from defensive specialist Kalisha Goree to take the set 25-13, and win their second match of the day.
Although Ohio State held a narrow 46-44 edge in kills, the Buckeyes .302 hitting percentage greatly exceeded that of the Billikens (.068).
The Buckeyes were still riding their victory high from their last two matches, but were not as successful against BYU.
The first set featured five lead changes and 10 ties as Ohio State fought hard against BYU. With 13 kills and one ace, Ohio State won the set, 25-19.
However, that would be the highlight in the match against the Cougars as BYU took the next three sets, 25-17, 25-18, 25-17.
Although the night did not end in victory for the Buckeyes, defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder racked up 27 digs, Smeathers recorded 13 kills and six blocks, and Hughes had 36 assists, seven blocks and five kills in the match.
The Buckeyes will be playing their home opener at St. John Arena on Friday when they host Missouri State.